Doug Pederson on Eagles’ backup quarterback position: ‘We’re very comfortable with the two we have’

The Philadelphia Eagles won’t be rushing for a backup quarterback in the wake of Nate Sudfeld’s broken left wrist. Sudfeld will be out six weeks with the injury, marking a potential return by Week 3 of the regular season at the earliest. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is going with Cody Kessler to fill the void as the No. 2 quarterback in Sudfeld’s absence while rookie fifth-round pick Clayton Thorson will be the No. 3. 

“Listen, there’s really not a lot to be said about the quarterback position,” Pederson said at the conclusion of Eagles practice. “We’re very comfortable with the two we have. They’re going to get a lot of work these next several weeks, obviously, in practice.

“It’s like any other position on our football team: if we see the need to add depth and value, we will. But at this time, we’re confident with the guys we have moving forward.”

Kessler struggled in the preseason opener, going 3 of 6 for 12 yards and a 56.2 passer rating, raising even more questions about whether the Eagles should pursue another veteran quarterback option to compete with him for the No. 2 job. The Eagles signed Kessler in May because he had starting quarterback experience with the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars and could provide veteran competition for Sudfeld for the backup quarterback job. Kessler also is only 26 years old, young enough for the Eagles to develop in Pederson’s system. 

“Any time you can add depth and value, and bring in competition, you’re going to do it,” Pederson said of Kessler’s experience. “We talked about it a lot with every position. Quarterback is not exempt. Someone that can come in and push Nate a little bit, because Clayton is obviously a rookie and probably not going to get as many reps in practice as Cody and Nate would get.

“We’re always looking to do that. It makes everybody better. Cody has played games. He started games in this league. He’s a guy that’s has great toughness, as we saw the other night, and has really embraced the offense. He’s in a good position.”

Thorson, the Eagles’ fifth-round pick out of Northwestern, struggled in his NFL debut. Thorson went 2 of 9 for seven yards passing and one interception for a 0.0 passer rating. In the process, Thorson misfired on wide-open receivers and sailed deep throws across the middle of the field. 

The Eagles attributed Thorson’s lackluster debut to nerves, allowing him to continue his progressions and get a feel for professional football. They’ll continue to develop him while Kessler remains the No. 2 quarterback. 

“That’s just what you have to do,” Pederson said. “Short-term memory, especially at the quarterback position. For me the other night, too, it was about showing confidence in him, putting it right back in his hands, and throw the ball some more. Thought he did a nice job that way.”

Pederson remains uncommitted on his plans for franchise quarterback Carson Wentz and his playing time this preseason. The Eagles sat Wentz in the preseason opener and will be without starting right tackle Lane Johnson (knee) for the remainder of the preseason. Starting left tackle Jason Peters typically sits out preseason games as well, an indication Wentz may not play a single snap of exhibition games. 

“The goal was to get through today, get through this practice, and go evaluate this practice,” Pederson said. “I’ll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.”

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